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The Power of a Question

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The Power of a Question:

In a world of secrets and lies, a question is a destructive force. To support the informational structure of one false statement, other false statements must be made. Adjustments must be made to alter perception of that information. A single question can challenge the entire web of deceit. To the cult member asking questions, it is the mind's way to reconcile inconsistencies or conflicts in cult doctrine. To the cult leader, however, it is a direct threat that must be stopped before spreading. One question leads to another, and one person asking can lead to a hundred others.

One of the ways cult leaders address this problem is to answer the questions before the group. In a group setting, it is much more difficult for individuals to ask follow-up questions. More importantly, cult leaders can control the way in which the question is asked, wording them in such a way that avoids controversial subject matter or further questions. Some cult leaders master the art of "questions and answers" by compiling lists of "questions" to be answered in one sitting. Not only does this give the cult leader the opportunity to have "not enough time for the number of questions", it allows them to plant their own questions in the list. While it doesn't satisfy the cult member with questions, it prevents others from forming questions of their own. Members are given the appearance of "transparency" while the cult leader controls which information is available.

Former members of these types of environments suffer with trust issues. After watching the non-transparent way in which their questions were avoided, they realize they had put faith in a leader that could not be trusted. Worse, after encountering cult members both satisfied by the leader's "answers" and using those same "answers" to questions, they mistakenly think other members are hiding something. It can sometimes take years for former members to allow others to earn their trust.